Anne Marie is adrift San Padua, living a precarious life of shift-work and shared apartments. Her husband Cal left her on their first anniversary and two years later, she can’t move on. When he shows up suddenly on her doorstep, clearly in some kind of trouble, she reluctantly agrees to a drink. But later that night a gun goes off in an alley near the shore and the young couple flee together, crammed into a beat up car with their broken past. Their ill-at-ease odyssey takes them across a shimmering American landscape and through the darker seams of the country, towards a city that may or may not represent salvation.
From the night she is rescued as a baby out of the flames of a sinking ship; to the day she joins a pair of daredevil pilots looping and diving over the rugged forests of her childhood, to the thrill of flying Spitfires during the war, the life of Marian Graves has always been marked by a lust for freedom and danger. In 1950, she embarks on her life’s dream – to fly a Great Circle around the globe, pole to pole. But after a crash landing she finds herself stranded on the Antarctic ice without enough fuel. With one fearsome piece of water separating her from completion of the Circle, she writes one last entry in her logbook. She is ready for her final journey. Half a century later, Hadley Baxter, a brilliant, troubled Hollywood starlet is irresistibly drawn to play Marian Graves, a role that will lead her to probe the deepest mysteries of the vanished pilot’s life.
Natasha Rothwell leads a sheltered life with her beautiful, bohemian mother in a crumbling house by the sea. From a young age she has been beset by strange dreams that she believes predict the future. The summer Natasha turns fifteen, strange dancing lights appear in the sky above her small seaside town, lights that she interprets as portents of doom and which lead her to reveal her gift to the small, insular community. Meanwhile, the arrival of a new lodger, the handsome Mr Bowen, threatens to upset the delicate equilibrium between mother and daughter. As news of the lights spreads, more and more visitors arrive, creating a feverish atmosphere of anticipation and dread. Then a local teenager goes missing, and Natasha is called on to use her powers to help.
Mehar, a young bride in rural 1929 Punjab, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days hard at work in the family’s ‘china room’, sequestered from contact with the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that will put more than one life at risk. Spiralling around Mehar’s story is that of a young man who in 1999 travels from England to the now-deserted farm, its ‘china room’ locked and barred. In enforced flight from the traumas of his adolescence – his experiences of addiction, racism, and estrangement from the culture of his birth – he spends a summer in painful contemplation and recovery, before finally finding the strength to return ‘home’.
Judith Schalansky is a wholly original writer whose books articulate perfectly what she wishes to say. Each of the pieces, following the conventions of a different genre, considers something that is irretrievably lost to the world, including the paradisal pacific island of Tuanaki, the Caspian Tiger, the Villa Sacchetti in Rome, Sappho’s love poems, Greta Garbo’s fading beauty, a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, and the former East Germany’s Palace of the Republic. As a child of the former East Germany, it’s not surprising that the dominant emotion in Schalansky’s work should be ‘loss’ and its aftermath, but what is extraordinary is the thoroughly engaging mixture of intellectual curiosity, down-to-earth grasp of life’s pitiless vitality, ironic humour, stylistic elegance and intensity of feeling.
This is the definitive story of one of the longest and most controversial conflicts in US history. Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, this authoritative history of the Vietnam War examines the key figures and events of the conflict, and its lasting effects on the world. Combining compelling text with maps and archive photography, this volume is an all-encompassing showcase of every aspect of the fighting and the wider political landscape, from the struggle for civil rights to the treatment of prisoners. Detailed descriptions of events, from Operation Passage to Freedom to the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon, are brought to life with eyewitness accounts and iconic photographs.
Mary is a difficult grandmother for Durga to love. She is sharp-tongued and ferocious, with more demons than there are lines on her palms. When Durga visits her in rural Malaysia, she only wants to endure Mary, and the dark memories home brings, for as long as it takes to escape. But a reckoning is coming. Stuck together in in the rising heat, both women must untangle the truth from the myth of their family’s past.What happened to Durga’s mother after she gave birth? Why did so many of their family members disappear during the war? And who is to blame for the childhood tragedy that haunts her to this day?
Disasters are by their very nature hard to predict. Pandemics, like earthquakes, wildfires, financial crises and wars, are not normally distributed; there is no cycle of history to help us anticipate the next catastrophe. But when disaster strikes, we ought to be better prepared than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all. Yet the responses of a number of developed countries to a new pathogen from China were badly bungled. Why? The facile answer is to blame poor leadership. While populist rulers have performed poorly in the face of the pandemic, more profund problems have been exposed by COVID-19. Only when we understand the central challenge posed by disaster in history can we see that this was also a failure of an administrative state and of economic elites that had grown myopic over much longer than just a few years.
In 1833, a young Charles Darwin was astonished by a strange animal he met in the Falkland Islands: a set of handsome, social, and oddly crow-like falcons that were ‘tame and inquisitive,’ ‘quarrelsome and passionate,’ and so insatiably curious that they stole hats, compasses, and other valuables from the crew of the Beagle. Darwin met many unusual creatures in his five-year voyage, but no others showed an interest in studying him, and he wondered why these birds were confined to remote islands at the tip of South America, sensing a larger story. These birds – now called striated caracaras – still exist, though they’re very rare; and this book reveals the wild and fascinating story of their history, origins, and possible futures in a series of travels throughout South America, from the fog-bound coasts of Tierra del Fuego to the tropical forests of Guyana.
On Boxing Day 1962, when Juliet Nicolson was eight years old, the snow began to fall. It did not stop for ten weeks. It was one of the coldest and harshest winters for 300 years. The drifts in East Sussex reached twenty-three feet. In London, milkmen made deliveries on skis. On Dartmoor 2,000 ponies were buried in the snow, and foxes ate sheep alive. It wasn’t just the weather that was bad. The threat of nuclear war had reached its terrifying height with the recent Cuban Missile Crisis. Unemployment was on the rise, de Gaulle was blocking Britain from joining the European Economic Community, Winston Churchill, still the symbol of Great Britishness, was fading. These shadows hung over a country paralysed by frozen heating oil, burst pipes and power cuts which are explored here.
From the moment she hears Lev’s violin for the first time, Helena Attlee is captivated. She is told that it is an Italian instrument, named after its former Russian owner. Eager to discover all she can about its ancestry, and the stories contained within its delicate wooden body, she sets out for its birthplace, Cremona, once the hometown of famous luthier Antonio Stradivari. This is the beginning of a beguiling journey whose end she could never have anticipated.
Dogs and humans: in the last 200 years no inter-species relationship has developed so fast nor come so far. Dogs accompany us in every walk of life, usually three times a day. How and why did this relationship begin? How has it changed over the centuries? And who’s getting the upper hand? This title investigates this unique bond by revisiting some of the most important milestones in our shared journey. It begins with the earliest visual evidence on ancient rock art, and ends at the laboratory that sequenced the first dog genome.
The struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the election of Donald Trump. For James Baldwin, these after times came in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, when a similar attempt to force a confrontation with the truth of America’s racism was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the years from the publication of ‘The Fire Next Time’ in 1963 to that of ‘No Name in the Street’ in 1972, Baldwin became a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair. Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this era of shattered promises and white retrenchment.
Growing up in the shadow of her superstar sister, Beyonc?, and defying an industry that attempted to bend her to its rigid image of a Black woman, Solange Knowles has become a pivotal musician and artist in her own right. In ‘Why Solange Matters’, Stephanie Phillips chronicles the creative journey of Solange, a beloved voice of the Black Lives Matter generation. A Black feminist punk musician herself, Phillips addresses not only the unpredictable trajectory of Solange’s career but also how she and other Black women see themselves through the musician’s repertoire. First, she traces Solange’s progress through an inflexible industry, charting the artist’s development up to 2016, when the release of her third album, ‘A Seat at the Table’, redefined her career. With this record and, then, When ‘I Get Home’ (2019), Phillips describes how Solange has embraced activism, anger and Black womanhood.